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Displaying items by tag: acceptance

Monday, 06 June 2016 04:10

Am I The Only One?

 

This question, and many others, have plagued me for quite some time. Yet, I cant help but think to myself maybe (just maybe) I'm not the only one? 

I know I'm not the only one who suffers from a mental illness, or a disorder. While this is true, I cannot help but wonder is there anyone else out there who isolates themselves from others, or keeps people at a distance in attempt to save them from having to deal with your issues? 

Or, do things like Stays Single, Keeping Family and Friends at a Distance, Avoids public places and holiday events from being petrified to be around anyone in the fear of being judged or stigmatized, along with being consumed with fear of being triggered, frustrated, or irritated? Which only throws you into (what seems like) an endless downward spiral of uncontrollable thoughts and emotions where there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Which can last from hours on end, if not a couple of days. 

Yet, at the same time, wanting SO BAD for someone to talk to, or a friend to turn to, who will accept you, be you're friend through thick and thin? 

When, In fact, all you can find is the saddening comfort of solitude and the deafening quiet of the four walls you call home? Or, the awkward silence from those who say they are your friend when you turn to them for help. Or worse, them avoiding you like you were the plague?

 

While most of this happens in my own life. I can't even begin to put into words how terribly lonely it all can be. As I have spent an obscene amount of time isolated and alone. 


I often feel as if I'm trapped in a self made solitary confinement with no door on either wall. And the messed up part of it all is? I do this all to myself. 

Issues such as bipolar/ ptsd can indeed be difficult to handle for others who don't know, or for that matter don't want to know about them. Yet, it would simply be a breath of fresh air to actually have a friend to open up and communicate with. Someone who not only is nonjudgmental and accepting, but also is able to see past the mental illness and see a person, not just the illness/ disorder itself. 

Yet, day in and day out, “the mask” is put on. For no one see's the depressed lonely person in front of them. They simply see the mask. While the face hidden behind the facade weeps and craves for genuine human interaction.

Was just curious if anyone else out there goes through the same thing or am I the only one?

As I ask that question, many more bombard me as I bring this to a close. ..... Is there really anything wrong with me? Is it really what some of my old friends (who are no longer my friend, mind you) said? That it's all in my head. Am I making it all up or making excuses? I mean, I've known for a long time, after being hit by a vehicle at age 7 (and dying in the process), that I was different from others around me. Yet, if there is nothing wrong with me, why do I stay so isolated, so secluded away from society? Why can't I walk past my front door and go to the store to get food and supplies? Or yet, have a relationship or keep friends? 

So many questions, I know. Yet, I can't help but sit here and wonder. Am I making myself out to be worse then it is? Which is why I'm here writing this now, wondering, is there anyone else out there that goes through the same things? Or is it all a figment of my imaginations run rampant in my head? I'm sitting here driving myself crazy, stressing, day in and day out wondering all this.

 

Published in Anxiety Articles
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:03

Accept Anxiety

Acceptance as an Orientation towards Anxiety

Sweat trickling down, chest discomfort and heart pounding – anxiety is a very real thing. Of the many things I have learned through anxiety, it is this that strikes me as the most curious: To accept is to change.

 

That has real-life implication for me. And little did I know that will also change the way I view the world.

 

But back to social anxiety. I refused anxiety. I guess, like most of the people, I am trying to escape what is painful. I will not deny it – anxiety is a very painful experience for me. I have tried – psyching myself that I am not anxious, telling myself that I can deal with this. It worked – in the short term. But it soon crumbled. It was an uphill battle. For most days, I would sit down and try to collect myself, inspiring myself with that Japanese, “Ganbatte!” only to have it wilting as soon as I feel that nervous twitch that I was so familiar with.

 

What I did not realized was that underlying all these, was a set of beliefs that I held. And through reading, discussions and much self-reflection, I, like many others, have come to the following insights.

 

First, I realized that anxiety need not restrict us in what we do. We may feel anxious at certain things – but that should not stop us from doing what is necessary. I was told that such an outlook on life is highly unproductive. We should not prefer the emotional-based lifestyle to the action-oriented life. What do I mean? Well, imagine on a lazy Saturday afternoon you might convince yourself that there are chores to be done. But because you felt lazy, you did not do them and in the end, something is left hanging. It would be all right – but think about how permanent your emotions are. Happy? Bored? In the wisdom of Solomon, “This too, shall pass.” Recognize that feelings come and go.

 

I can, and will continue feeling anxious. No one should and will take away my right to feeling anxious. However, we should not make the mistake of allowing something so impermanent like emotions to decide for us what is permanent. I can feel anxious at talking to people, but that does not always have to lead up to not talking to people, right? I can talk to people anxiously. It’s still talking. And again, we come back to the point that we should not arrange our entire life around anxiety. Anxiety exists and we acknowledge that, but like a spoilt kid, if you are to go with its every whim and fancy, you’d go insane.

 

Second, acceptance. It’s a powerful tool. Anxiety is painful, trust me on that ;) But there is something bigger than anxiety. That is acceptance. We are designed to escape from anxiety, and anxiety-inducing stimuli. That is how we are wired biologically, and there is no sense in kicking ourselves for being wired like that. Nonetheless, that does not mean we cannot do something about it.

 

To illustrate my point, I will share my personal experience. I always have qualms about eating with people I don’t know well. I guess, some part of me feels insecure eating outside. I will analyze my every move – the way I eat, does it make me look stupid. And not to mention critical – you idiot, what if they think you’re inept for dropping that piece of chicken on your lap? In short, I was extremely self-conscious about myself.

 

You get my point. Well, one day, by chance I found myself sitting with my new classmates who felt it was necessary to have me accompany them for lunch. You know those type, they are insistent and if I leave, they’ll pull me back to my seat. I was, in their opinion, too alone.

 

And again, the experience was quite anxiety-provoking. I was eating carefully, and it was very taxing. Everyone else was talking and laughing. I was however miserable and wanting to get out. I had two options, continue being miserable and tension-filled, or try to enjoy the moment. And I decided on the latter. Obviously. But it wasn’t so easy. I notice thoughts swarming into my head. Do they want you here? They must pity you. Not the most pleasant thought to have. I guessed something in me ticked – exasperated, I retorted with an Ok, and so?

 

And then no more. I was taken aback. For a while at least. Although occasionally, during then, I had a few more negative thoughts, but they seem reduced in intensity. Muffled, if you will.

 

It may seem like an unremarkable incident. Eating in public? Really? You might have worse stories to share, and that is fine. But for me, and people with social anxiety disorder, you will know what I’m on about. Tell yourself “I am anxious – I am feeling my hands shaking. I will, however, accept these sensations and thoughts that arise, and see where they will lead me to. ” Of course, acceptance is not just simply telling yourself that – but it makes for a good start.

 

And there is some basis to what I’m saying. All these techniques are used in therapy to treat anxiety disorder. Mindfulness based therapy, and some variation of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) base their entire treatment on these approach.

 

Stanley Schwarz is an author of Reducing Social Anxiety: A Self-Help Approach

Published in Anxiety General Blog

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